Can You Keep Cockatoos As Pets?

Cockatoos can make exceptional pet birds as long as their requirements and needs are put first.

They are comical, mischievous, funny, and affectionate creatures that light up your home.

Even though this particular bird species is easy to get along with, you need to focus on several complex tasks and requirements first.

To fulfill the role of a wonderful companion, a cockatoo must be properly raised, trained, and well socialized.

Some cockatoos are noted for being incredibly sweet and affectionate birds.

On the other hand, some are known to develop phobic behavioral issues, including plucking feathers and screaming.

It all depends on how a cockatoo was raised; hence, the following are crucial.

What Do People Like About Cockatoos As Pets?

  • Cockatoos are wonderful companions
  • They have a sweet and affectionate nature
  • Their voice is incredibly entertaining and harmonious to hear
  • They are exceptionally affectionate birds as they like to cuddle
  • In some cases, cockatoos have also been termed Velcro birds because of their need for cuddling and affection
  • They generally love attention from anyone around them
  • Well-behaved cockatoos let anyone pet them, which makes them a great family pet

Cockatoos are known for their affectionate and cuddly nature, along with being incredibly energetic.

These playful birds entertain their owners with silly acts and tricks.

Most Cockatoo species can learn to talk even though they are not the best at talking.

They are known to have humorous voices that add a comical element to their overall speech.

Cockatoos are certainly entertaining birds and a good choice to keep as a pet regardless of their speech capacity.

Basics You Should Know Before Getting a Cockatoo as Pet Bird

Here are all the basic details you need to know before investing in a cockatoo as a pet.

Remember, only get a cockatoo for yourself if you have the resources to fulfill all its needs and requirements.

Let’s take a look.

Cockatoo Diet

It is important for you to provide your cockatoo with a healthy diet. A nutritious diet for a cockatoo consists of fruits, fresh vegetables, and nuts.

You can also feed your cockatoo cooked grains such as oats, brown rice, barley, vegetable pasta, and even sweet potato.

In some cases, you can also alternate a few nutritious seeds into your cockatoo’s diet several times a week to keep things interesting.

However, be careful while feeding your cockatoo citrus fruits because it can lead to Iron Overload Disease.

This disease occurs due to increased amounts of iron and vitamin C.

Therefore, control your cockatoo’s vitamin C intake in terms of oranges, lemons, or other vitamin C-rich food or supplements that may be part of their diet.

Under no circumstances should you give your cockatoo fried foods, alcohol, chocolates, potato chips, pretzels, or any other salty foods.

This is not supposed to be part of their natural diet and can be dangerous for their well-being.

Cockatoo Exercise

You should allow your cockatoo few opportunities every day to exercise and play around.

A total of three hours out in the open is a good way to go. This will allow them to exercise their wings and legs, which is a healthy practice to maintain their longevity.

If you’re leaving your cockatoo outside the cage for more than three hours is not practical, you should dedicate an hour to your cockatoo’s exercise.

Even socializing with other birds or interacting with other people in the house can be a form of exercise for them.

It is necessary for them to spend time outside their cage to be happy and healthy.

Cockatoo Cages

Giving your cockatoo a spacious cage to live in is a great idea. These birds are not meant to be put in small cages, so a big cage is what you should choose.

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If you are getting an adult cockatoo, your cage should be at least 40 inches x 30 inches wide.

Anything smaller than that can be a bit suffocating for an adult cockatoo.

Smaller cockatoos can be comfortable in 24-inch x 36-inch cages, but bigger cages are always a good choice.

Cockatoos love space because it keeps them comfortable as they have enough room to fly about and stretch their wings.

A spacious cage also allows you to set up more toys and branches for your cockatoo’s entertainment.

Cockatoo Lifespan

An average cockatoo can live for up to 40 years compared to other smaller bird species.

Larger cockatoos, however, have a lifespan of up to 80 years.

Most birds tend to die earlier when kept in captivity, which is why you need to take good care of your cockatoo to maintain its longevity and long-term happiness.

Cockatoo Toys & Entertainment

Just like a kid, cockatoos also need lots of toys. They love simple toys, complicated toys, and even toys that they can shred and chew.

Buying them a rope and wooden toys would make them especially happy, while puzzle toys will challenge them.

Cockatoos also love music and watching television.

So, leaving the TV on or perhaps placing a radio near your cockatoo’s cage can be a great source of entertainment for them.

Cockatoo Behavior & Training

There is no doubt in the fact that cockatoos demand a lot of attention from their owners.

However, they are equally loving and affectionate. Their devoted personality to their owners is something to be proud of if you end up getting a cockatoo as a pet.

If an owner is willing to put in the effort and provide meaningful attention, cockatoos can be incredibly dedicated pets.

Like intelligent parrots, cockatoos need consistent training from a young age so that they can grow up to be well-behaved and social birds.

Training also helps a cockatoo reach its full potential as well as lower any destructive habits.

Cockatoo Behavioral Challenges

Before purchasing a cockatoo from a pet store or an independent seller, you must make sure that they do not have any behavioral issues.

If a cockatoo has not been raised properly, there are several behavioral challenges that you will have to face such as plucking, biting, excessive chewing and screaming.

Let’s discuss these behavioral challenges in detail:


Like most parrots, cockatoos use their sharp beaks as a method of defense and discipline.

If your cockatoo does not like a certain behavior, it is highly likely to use its beak to discipline you.

Hence, it is really important to understand and guide their behavior so that undesirable behaviors do not stick with them long term.

If this dangerous behavior goes unchecked, then a cockatoo is likely to be a harmful, unpredictable, and dominating pet for the entire family.

Their idea of fun would be to attack and chase their favorite human owners, which is a form of affection but can be dangerous for a number of reasons.

Training your cockatoo is a vital step to cease destructive behavior.

Excessive Chewing

It is common for parrots and cockatoos to use their beaks for chewing.

They are used to chewing trees in order to customize a nest of their liking. Doing this gives them a pleasure as they can customize their own space as well as keep their beak in good condition.

However, the problem with excessive chewing is that they will not know which house item to chew on and which to lay off.

This means that undisciplined cockatoos can also chew on electric wires which can be potentially dangerous for your house.

In order to curb this undesirable behavior, it is important for the owner to provide the cockatoo with healthy chewing items such as wood branches, bird toys, as well as to train the bird about what items or areas are off-limits for it.

If you do not curb this particular behavior, you will be dealing with several chew marks all around the house which will be both dangerous and unpleasant to look at.


Cockatoos have naturally loud voices, and their screaming can be quite uncomfortable for most people.

Even though this entirely isn’t an undesirable behavior, there are a few ways to train your cockatoo to discourage screeching and excessive screaming.

Just remember, training your bird to be silent is not recommended, you cannot stop them from doing something they are naturally meant to do.


Cockatoos can often resort to plucking and self-mutilation.

These are often signs of neglect in a bird so it is imperative that you give your pet bird as much attention as you possibly can.

Wrapping Up

In most ways, cockatoos are just like humans. They require a lot of care, love, and attention.

So, if you decide to keep a cockatoo as a pet, make sure you are willing to love it like your own child.

These emotionally sensitive birds can pick up on your behavior pretty quickly, which is why you should always be consistent in your affection and care towards them.

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